MD – Bad Girls – Review

Bad Girls, Mellow Dramatics, Brewhouse Arts Centre, Union Street, Burton
Tuesday, May 12th, to Saturday, May 16th

An enthusiastic audience greeted the opening night of Bad Girls with fulsome applause and much whooping as The Mellow Dramatics brought this original musical to the Brewhouse stage.
Based on characters from the hugely popular and award-winning television drama which was screened on ITV from June, 1999, to December, 2006, this musical is basically about some of theatre’s most popular themes.
There is good versus evil and there is also a love story – ok, it’s not a boy meets girl love story and possibly it’s more lesser evil versus evil than good versus evil but they are familiar themes to anyone who likes a musical.
Bad Girls is set in a fictional prison where a ‘liberal’ governor, Helen Stewart, is trying out the approach of treating prisoners as people not animals in the hope they will respond. However, Stewart, played by Sharon Plummer is up against ‘old school screw’ Jim Fenner, wonderfully portrayed by Andrew Warner.
Backing Fenner in his power struggle with Stewart is fellow warden Sylvia Hollamby, Maria Smith, who brings a spiteful presence.
Ranged against this pair are the prisoners – all claiming they shouldn’t be there, not their innocence, just that they shouldn’t be there.
A death on the wing gives Fenner an opportunity to remove Stewart but can she get the backing of the prisoners and take on the corrupt warder?
Although there are no well-known songs the musical numbers are lively for the most part and eminently well performed.
They say the devil has the best tunes and in Bad Girls I thought the best numbers went to the bad guys. Fenner and Hollamby with Jailcraft in the first act and a showstopping The Future is Bright in the second act.
Suzanne Huthmacher as Sylvia brought a brooding menace as well as humour to the wing and the opening of act two with Amy Glover as Crystal singing Freedom Road with the other prisoners backing her was another standout number.
There is strong backing from the ensemble in both the singing and dancing.
Directed by Donna Stephenson with choreography by Natasha Ingham and musical direction by Rob Murray.

This show contains adult themes and bad language.
Bad Girls is on at the Brewhouse until Saturday at 7.30pm with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday.

For tickets contact the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.

Bill Pritchard

Picture credit : Phillip Ingham Photography

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